THE FUNERAL OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Queen Elizabeth II was a remarkable woman, living for 96 years and reigning for 70. Her funeral was also remarkable, with literally hundreds of thousands of spectators in London and Windsor. In the park at Windsor Castle, it was known that a quarter of a million people were present. It was touching to see her personal pony standing along the route and her two corgis at the castle. It is the end of an era. Only the Lord knows what is ahead.
In the Bible, King Asa reigned over Judah for forty years. Although not perfect, he was a godly man. It was reported of him that he was so highly thought of “they made a very great burning for him” [2 Chronicles 16:14]. Likewise, Elizabeth II was highly esteemed by most.
“PREACHING THE KINGDOM OF GOD”
A remarkable contrast exists in the closing verses of the book of Acts [28:31]. In the ancient city of Rome were the magnificent palaces of the Caesars, occupied at different times by the illustrious galaxy of Roman emperors. In the same city of Rome was a humble hired dwelling place occupied by an aging Christian prisoner named Paul.
The impact the Caesars had upon world history cannot be disputed, but they have now passed away into the dust of oblivion. The language they spoke is now a dead language. On the other hand, the message emanating from that humble hired house still rings throughout the world where the Gospel of Christ is proclaimed. And two thousand years later, men and women of every class, colour, and creed are being transformed by its life-giving Word.
Much of society in our generation is shaped by the worldly philosophies of Darwin, Freud, and Marx. Like the Caesars, they have passed on, and only their writings remain, updated, and amended by successive generations of theorizers. But the unchanging Word of God remains as living and vital as ever, meeting the needs of hungry souls as efficiently in the twenty-first century as it did in the first.
What separates the Gospel Paul preached from human philosophies is its divine origin. As a stream can rise no higher than its source, so all human-based teaching is doomed to eventual failure. The Word that Paul preached came down from God, who made man and knows best his needs. Paul in Rome preached about a living Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone can save and satisfy the hungry soul.
“Set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee” [Ezekiel 40:4]
We may hear God’s Word and yet not have a listening heart. The ear picks up the message, but the heart is set on something else. We do a dishonour to God if we hear with a divided heart.
The Lord assures the prophet a reward for his diligence. The verse offers a guide to the study of Scripture, for the prophet is here enrolled as a student at the feet of his Lord. There are four conditions for each to adopt in this “Bible College.”
First, our heart must be in what we learn. Second, obedience is necessary to the favour of God. Third, God requires submission to all that he says. Fourth, we must have absolute conviction as to the divine origin of the written Word: “I shall show thee.” [Dr. John Douglas].
DEFENDER OF THE FAITH
One of the titles of the British sovereign is Fidei Defensor, which means ‘Defender of the faith.’ It was originally given to King Henry VIII by the pope to defend Roman Catholicism. But Henry had trouble with the pope and founded the Church of England. The title, Fid. Def. he gave to the Anglicans. From then, the British sovereign was also the head of the Church of England, as was Elizabeth II until her death.
Some years ago, the Prince of Wales, now Charles III, said that if he became King, he would change it from Fid. Def. singular to plural. He would become a ‘defender of the faiths,’ including Romanism and every other religion. He met with the religious leaders to assure them he had not changed his mind.
It was interesting to note that the funeral services in both Westminster Abbey and St. George’s Chapel in Windsor were conducted clearly using Fid. Def. (Singular). That is because of the current law. The coronation of Charles will be next year. It will be interesting to watch developments.
“It was a terrible summer for Humpty Dumpty, but he had a great fall.” [Indian Hills Community]